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? >> i don't know how to answer that, jon. i was laughing over at you. i was looking at amy friend who joined us and amy and i had lots of conversations that were about that very topic. and amy was right more than i was about the answers to that question. but they were usually pretty pessimistic answers. so what do you do? i mean, it's like any other constraint. i mean, we live in the world we live in. and not in a different world. and the political system is no different than that. and it's much better to design good policy that works for the world you live in than to design policy that works for a world you don't live in. so i think not just being pig headed is the answer i would give. >> well, there is a moment in history when it's a little hard to be optimistic about policy. everything is so polarized. my colleagues at brookings that congress is more polarized. that is to say the most liberal republican is more conservative than the most conservative democrat so working out agreements in that environment is pretty difficult. to take a slightly more positive turn, i think we do pass
on a diet. i'm going to add calories to my excluded food intake." unquote. that was jon stewart. he hit the nail on the head. for sure it's easy to make fun but what the president is trying to do with tax expenditures is no laughing matter. liberals talk about tax expenditures as though they were just getting rid of wasteful spending. first, as a legal matter, tax expenditures are not spending. outlays are checks cut from the treasury department are defined as spending under the congressional budget act. that's what spending is. yet, most tax expenditures only lose revenue and do not include an outlay portion. tax expenditures that only lose revenue contain no spending as defined by the congressional budget act and is scored by the official scorekeepers for congress. the joint committee on taxation and the congressional budget office. and second, as a policy matter twhe comes to tax -- when it comes to tax expenditures, one person's loophole is another person's opportunity to save for college and retirement, finance a home and ties to your -- taoeugts -- tithes to your church. reducing
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